Amazing Grace

Read the resurrection story of John 20:11-18.  Enter the scene with Mary.  Archbishop William Temple wrote, “gradually her sorrow becomes tinged with wonder of what it was that the two apostles had seen when they went into the tomb; so she too looks in, …What catches her attention is not the linen clothes, but ‘two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.’[1]  The place of His Death was between two thieves; …The place of His burial was between two angels; …the place where God’s forgiveness meets [human] sin.” (William Temple, Readings in St John’s Gospel, p. 361) Still caught in grief, not understanding, Mary turns back and catches sight of a man she believes is a gardener.  Should we, in the stillness of time, lean forward with cocked ear, we too might catch the words said to her.  “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” “Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’” She was named and claimed!  In the naming of her name, death becomes life.  Deception is conquered by deliverance!  She, who comes seeking by the tomb, is now embraced by a new reality.  The words of the prophet Isaiah – “I have called you by name, you are mine!” (Isaiah 43:1) – dance in the air between them.  The poet Sallie Chesham catches the essence:              Always after, she             Would find no horror             In spilled blood,             The grave,             Would even wave at death.             Trial and triumph             She judged the same.             The only thought             Of consequence was this:             Forever He would call             Her by name.  (Sallie Chesham, “After Mary,” The Splendor of Easter, p. 133-134) Such is the splendor of this resurrection day!  We are named and claimed by the risen Lord!   You are named and claimed by the risen Lord! When you are named in love, you are claimed in love.  In Christ’s one word “Mary!” not only does she know He is alive; she also knows she is alive!  “Because I live,” said Jesus, “you shall live also” (John 14:19). As Mary is named by the Savior, she is known by God, given an identity and purpose, no more a mere ripple in the waters of existence. I remember when our son was born.  I was there, Nikon Daddy, camera slung around my neck coaching Jolynn with inane comments like a baseball announcer gone mad.  The doctor picked him up and cleaned him off.  Weighing and talking measurements, he dictated to the nurse:  “Baby boy Lowry.” I interrupted him, “He’s not just a boy; his name is Nathan.  He’s ours.”  He was named and claimed! This Easter the march of the resurrecting God has taken a glorious step forward.  Our granddaughter, our first grandchild, has been bobaby gracern.  She is named Grace Jean Meek.  I’ve already taken to calling her simply “The Amazing.”  She too is named and claimed by the resurrecting Lord. So are you.  Joyous Easter!  

[1]               John 20:12